Category Description:

badge2Symptoms of brain injury can range from loss of consciousness and coma to changes in physical, cognitive, emotional, social and behavioral abilities and skills. The range and severity of symptoms are different for each person as each brain injury is unique.

These blog articles discuss the variety of symptoms from the persepctive of clinicians, survivors and families. They give readers a broader understanding of the complexity of brain injury symptoms and their consequences for a meaningful life.

Resuscitating Life after Cardiac Arrest

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We’ve all heard the warning that brain cells start to die within three, four, or five minutes without oxygen. What happens when the brain doesn’t receive oxygen for forty-five minutes? A severe anoxic brain injury.

My husband Alan suffered a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest. This happened on an airplane as we awaited take-off in 1998, just before it became mandatory to have automated external defibrillators (AEDS) on all flights. A few things went right, and a few things went wrong in the crisis that ensued. It took over forty-five minutes of CPR before Alan’s heart leapt back to life. He was left with a severe brain injury that defined our lives for years to come.

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Memory Enhancement and Tips

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Last week I shared cognitive rehab strategies for language skills you can practice at home. This week we’ll focus on strategies to enhance memory.

Brain injury can cause serious problems with memory. The problems might include remembering events before the brain injury or after the brain injury. It might also include problems with making and working with new memories. What could be more frightening than not remembering your name, your life, or why you’re in the hospital surrounded by strangers?

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Depression within the First Year of TBI

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Traumatic brain injury can be a sudden, unpredictable, and devastating event for individuals and their families. Depression after such a traumatic experience is not the least bit unusual. Sometimes these feelings occur immediately after the incident and other times they may show up later – weeks or months later.

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Cognitive Rehab at Home

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Brain injury can affect many areas of the brain involved in thinking, learning, remembering. and communicating. Cognitive rehabilitation aims to restore those abilities as much as possible, or teach the survivor strategies to compensate in new ways.

Cognitive rehab usually starts in the hospital or out-patient setting. But that’s just the beginning. Healing and recovering from a brain injury can take a long time. Many people can continue to make progress in specific ways for months and years after a brain injury with ongoing treatment, motivation, and practice.

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Bereavement, Grieving and Mourning

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We use the words bereavement (or bereaved) and grieving and mourning interchangeably, as though they all mean the same thing. They don’t.

To be bereaved is to be “deprived of a close relation or friend through their death.” In other words, it is the event or “the call” ~ it is what has happened to you that caused you to lose someone or something.

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All of the Above is True

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Have you noticed that living with brain injury sometimes involves contradictions and inconsistencies? My husband Alan had a severe anoxic brain injury following a cardiac arrest. When friends asked how Alan was doing in his recovery my answers often started with,” Well on one hand…”

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The Long Haul

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My son Brian, a 20-year-old college sophomore, sustained a brain injury in a car accident in July of 1985. Brian decided to go to the beach at 2 a.m. with a friend, after drinking too many beers and smoking marijuana. In the pre-dawn hours, still miles from Ocean City, he fell asleep at the wheel.

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Brain Injury and Substance Abuse

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One out of two adolescents or adults with brain injury abuses substances like alcohol or drugs. Some survivors trying to cope with depression, social isolation and other losses turn to alcohol or drugs. Abusing these substances can slow or complicate recovery.

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A Note from Debbie

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I was desperate. I had sustained a brain injury in an automobile accident and was struggling to deal with everyday living activities. After almost burning down my home twice by leaving cooking units on unattended, I finally realized I had a problem and that it wouldn’t go away. Everything in my life that used to be so easy was now almost impossible to do without putting myself, others or property at risk.

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Road to “Recovery” after Brain Injury

I’ve been closely following the progress reports on Congresswoman “Gabby” Giffords. Frankly, I’ve delayed writing about her brain injury because, like all of us across the nation, I was horrified by this tragic shooting. As I followed the reports on her condition day by day on the morning and nightly news, I simply could not find the words to express what I was feeling.

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